Mustafa Ali Reveals Original Plans For SmackDown Hacker, RETRIBUTION In WWE

Neither role led to a sustained push for Ali

Mustafa Ali has revealed the original plans for the SmackDown Hacker and RETRIBUTION during a recent interview. 

The SmackDown Hacker made their presence felt on the blue brand in early 2020 after infiltrating WWE and their most high-profile leak revealed Sonya Deville and Dolph Ziggler's plan to keep Mandy Rose and Otis apart. The gimmick would be dropped a few months later, though, and it only received a brief mention when Mustafa Ali revealed he was the hacker after he became the leader of RETRIBUTION.

Reflecting on the gimmick while speaking to talkSPORT, Ali revealed his original pitch for the character was for it to be used to create feuds. 

"It's later revealed in RETRIBUTION a few months later that this serious hacker had appeared on SmackDown and, again, that was another creative concept of mine. The idea with it was The Hacker would be very instrumental in the way the show was developing," Ali said.

"The way I presented it was 'you know how we use Miz TV to launch feuds sometimes? Miz is simply the host, but we use him as a vehicle to bring out two superstars and create something. The Hacker is like that; I don't need matches, I don't even need to be in the ring. I just need to be able to expose one person's secret or use information.' 

"All those hacker style vignettes that you saw, that was me. That was self-produced. Me making them at home sending them in. I wasn't there. It wasn't like 'hey, boss, can we do this?' There was a barrier because I wasn't physically there. I was sending stuff in hoping it would stick and unfortunately we didn't go that route. The hacker just kind of faded away. Again, not to get into too many specific things, but there's pitches going on across all brands, including NXT, as to where I could go," he continued.

"The idea was to bring me back to Raw and it was a last-minute call. I'm flying in day-of to have a match with the Hurt Business and I'm still hoping in the background maybe the plan is to get me back on TV to throw people off the scent of me as the hacker because that had gotten some traction."

Ali then revealed he wanted to have the SmackDown Hacker be the power behind RETRIBUTION and use the persona to bring out another element of the faction. WWE ultimately only used him being the hacker in a one-minute promo, though.

"Again, it kind of got lost in the shuffle. I kind of begged and pleaded... The original idea once I found out I was leading RETRIBUTION, because I didn't know joining RETRIBUTION either, it was sprung onto me a few moments before we were doing it. My pitch then was can we have RETRIBUTION have the hacker as their power? That's why they're powerful," Ali added.

"That's how they were able to break into the building, that's why RETRIBUTION knew where the truck wires would be etc. and I wanted their angle to be other than having these giant men behind us along with Slapjack and Reckoning, the power comes from us knowing all of your secrets. Everyones. Front the top to the bottom - it's on this USB drive, or something physical. I thought that would give us an edge. We could come to the ring and pummel you, but I don't even have to do that. I could send out this one tweet and ruin your life - that's real life. 

"All of that work turned into one line in a promo where I admit I'm the hacker and we end up not going that route. I can't tell you why we didn't do it because I don't know, all I can tell you is I tried. I'm still thankful for that role at the end of the day."

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Journalist/Editor-in-Chief of Cultaholic.com Twitter: @theaidangibbons